Some meals you really need to floss after
While many school programmes teach children the right way to brush, flossing is often neglected. As a result, many adults have the right toothbrush technique but are completely lost when it comes to flossing. Both the concept and practice can be intimidating.
When you floss, you use a piece of string, dental floss, or dental tape to remove bits of food stuck between your teeth. It’s important because your brush doesn’t always reach the bits of food that may be stuck in those tiny gaps between one tooth and another.
Flossing also gets at any germs stuck between your teeth and gums. If that area is not well cleaned, tartar can build up, leading to gum disease and other infections. If you haven’t flossed before, you can ask your dentist to show you how.
Keep in mind that flossing shouldn’t be painful. It can be uncomfortable, but if it’s drawing blood and hurting, get some dental guidance on the right way to do it. Ideally, you should use gentle, rocking motion and use 8 to 10 ten swipes per tooth.
Many dentists suggest you should floss before brushing rather than after. It loosens dirt and allows toothpaste to reach those gum spaces. This is especially helpful if you’re using fluoridated toothpaste since it can sink between the teeth and gums to prevent plaque.
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Another reason to floss is that it reduces bad breath. Sometimes, even after brushing, bits of food is leftover and lodged between your teeth and gums. These bits can decay and affect the scent of your breath. Flossing gets rids of most of the bacteria your brush didn’t reach.
You may want to floss after every meal, but this isn’t always possible. You can choose to floss in situations where you can’t brush, for example at work, or after a snack. It’s less fussy than brushing, and carrying floss is easier than carrying a brush, toothpaste, and a tumbler.
Since flossing specifically targets the spaces between the teeth and gums, it helps to floss after eating foods that are soft, sweet, and sticky. Cakes, cookies, chocolate, bread, and some candies sink into your teeth when you bite them so that they will stick in those spaces between your teeth and gums as well. The high sugar content also converts easily to plaque.
Starchy foods begin their digestion process in your mouth since amylase breaks down 30% of the starch you eat. Flossing after these sweet treats get rid of the sticky sugars before they have a chance to be turned into potentially harmful bacterial fodder. Chewing gum helps too.
You should also floss after eating food that contains fine fibres. This includes meat and poultry which often gets stuck in the gaps between your teeth. It also includes tropical fruit like mangoes, pineapples, or sugarcane, which are also prone to sticking between teeth.
If you’d like some tips on flossing or any other dental advice, call our Dental clinic Maroubra on 02 8004 0055.